Iowa Soybean Review Editor

(Photo: Joclyn Bushman/Iowa Soybean Association)

Rural Route 2: Word of the year

March 2, 2023 | Bethany Baratta

I've chosen a word that serves as a guide in 2023: Celebrate.

It initially came to me during a meeting with our writers, designers and photographer. We discussed going from one issue of the Iowa Soybean Review to the next, racing to our next deadlines.

While the deadlines are ever-present, it was a reminder to take a minute to reflect on the great work our team does to produce each issue. All the planning, writing, editing and designing come together monthly in a 32-page magazine. And then it’s out into the world, and we’re already on to the next two issues.

Farming is a bit like that, too. One minute you’re planting your field; the next, it seems you’re already harvesting the fruits of your labor. By that time, your decision on the variety and type of seed has already been locked in. Did you leave some space to celebrate the harvest? Do you give thanks for a safe transition to and from the fields or an abundant crop despite adversity? (Note: All 99 counties in the state were in some drought stage in 2022. Still, Iowa farmers harvested 587 million bushels of soybeans, the second largest in the state’s history.)

“Celebrate” is reverberated at home, where dessert is served all too often to celebrate something: a perfect score on a math test, successful recovery from surgery, a dog’s birthday or simply making it through the day.

I recently joined several others at the Iowa Soybean Association’s Winter Soy Summit to celebrate eight individuals for their role in the soybean industry. The recipients are a perfect mix of those who have served the industry for several decades and those near the beginning of their careers. Their stories and videos made me proud to be associated with them. Unlike some of our celebration nights at home, these recipients deserve both the awards and the desserts served at the luncheon.

Reflecting on the awards ceremony, I’m reminded of the words from Robert Haus, who presented the New Leader Award to Josh Henik on behalf of Corteva: “Where soybeans are grown, leaders are grown.”

I’m fortunate to be a part of an association that celebrates the farmers who make it all happen. As I’ve learned of their stories, I’m reminded time and again of farmers’ contributions not only in their local communities but around the world.

I’m grateful to celebrate these leaders in this issue — and beyond. Enjoy the issue!